Tejano Twist Favored Over Nine Sprint Veterans In Oaklawn's Whitmore - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Tejano Twist Favored Over Nine Sprint Veterans In Oaklawn’s Whitmore

Christian Torres pilots Into Mischief colt Flash of Mischief to victory in the Ring the Bell

Tejano Twist is the 3-1 program favorite for the $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) for older sprinters Saturday at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark.

Probable post time for the six-furlong Whitmore, the eighth of 10 races, is 4:22 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at 12:35 p.m. The card also features the $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.

The projected 10-horse Whitmore field from the rail out: Spankster, David Cabrera to ride, 124 pounds, 8-1 on the morning line; Tejano Twist, Francisco Arrieta, 124, 3-1; Miles Ahead, Martin Garcia, 117, 15-1; Edge to Edge, Nik Juarez, 124, 4-1; Empire of Gold, Lane Luzzi, 119, 15-1; Baytown Bear, Maclovio Enriquez Jr., 117, 20-1; Flash of Mischief, Cristian Torres, 124, 9-2; Pirate Rick, Rafael Bejarano, 119, 12-1; Cogburn, Ricardo Santana Jr., 124, 7-2; and Morello, Flavien Prat, 117, 15-1.

Tejano Twist and the speedy Edge to Edge are both trained by 2015 local champion Chris Hartman. Tejano Twist, a late-running son of Practical Joke, had won three consecutive starts before finishing second, beaten four lengths, by millionaire Grade 1 winner Gunite in the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes at six furlongs Jan. 28 at Oaklawn. Gunite's winning time over a sloppy track was a meet-best 1:08.89. With Gunite now based in the Middle East, Tejano Twist is favored to notch his third career stakes victory and second since Hartman claimed the gelding for $80,000 last June at Churchill Downs.

“No Gunite this time,” Hartman said. “That should be a little bit of help, for sure. He's a little hard to run down. We've got one horse on the front that's been doing really good and another one coming from the back. Hopefully, we can get a good result there. It looks like they're both coming into the race really live.”

Edge to Edge has recorded two sharp front-running allowance victories at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn. The six-furlong races went in 1:09.30 and 1:09.65.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who conditions Gunite, will send out Grade 3 winner Morello and Cogburn, who has been favored in all six lifetime starts.

Morello, in his Oaklawn debut, finished fourth, beaten 9 ¾ lengths by Edge to Edge, Feb. 17. Cogburn is poised to grab his first career stakes victory after narrow misses last spring in the $150,000 Bachelor at Oaklawn and the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico. Cogburn, in his 4-year-old debut and first start against older horses, was a Feb. 5 allowance winner at Oaklawn. Cogburn's winning time over a fast track was 1:09.67.

“He's always been fast,” Asmussen said. “He's run some very fast races and that's a good quality in a racehorse.”

Flash of Mischief looks to rebound from a fifth-place finish in the King Cotton for trainer Karl Broberg. Flash of Mischief won the $150,000 Ring the Bell Stakes at six furlongs Dec. 10 at Oaklawn.

The Whitmore is the final major local prep for the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at 6 furlongs April 15. The Whitmore is named for seven-time Oaklawn stakes winner Whitmore, the country's champion male sprinter of 2020.

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